Wednesday, September 29, 2010

20 Fathoms Down

My ancestors used to eat their cheerios
out of a bowl carved from a human skull

that’s what made surfing The Cage so tasty
in the early 70s
                              in Venice

              The all night girls
              out on the boardwalk
                                                I figured they were the
                              daughters of memory
& of course I had to take up with the one that
              had eyes like a page torn from a
                                                                        stolen book

She translated my tattoos
& stuck her tongue in my ear

              We spent that summer on the PCH
                                                two objects, in motion

speed-shifting past the cemetery

                              I kept one hand on the wheel
              & the other between her legs

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Listening to the wind skip like a broken needle

The 4 walls of scattered clouds
                              stapled to an abalone sunset
              & the concrete steps to the beach below

A not quite parallel universe
              versus a jingle-jangle breakdown where you cave in to a sort of sleep

                                          To be subsumed

She said, “I hate to say I told you so” & then she did
                              Ear to the ground as if through channels hollowed out in the mind itself

Part of my mind is an old scratched & warped Stooges album
                                                the other part is an impossibly flawless wave
              one you can ride for 300 miles

                              the last part is entitled “The Neon Palisades”

              Dark sky (via telepathy) darker water
                                                                i   n   d   i   g   o       t   i   d   e

                                                                She turned & began to
cascade vertically on the wet pavement

                                          but a pale twist of smoke before the flame jumps up from the
                              dry grass & dead weeds
pale fingers, scattered clouds, abalone palisades
spilling like concrete steps
                                                                              into the sand

Thursday, September 23, 2010

This is a test of the emergency broadcast system

Before anyone got here
a kind of disease
just not as impetuous

One returns to
a clumsy mortality at best
              & ankle deep
as it was still possible
                              (like the LXXXI Canto printed on a grain of sand)
to leap from the edge of yourself

                                                ie, the beer bottle window ledge balcony

but blue blue water cut w/white foam
              (as the seagull said to Obysseus)
Leucothea, submerged
                              prayer flags whipping in the winds of chance

in the wind, anyway

expecting all that is oblivious
& tender

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sneaking a Drink w/the Tiki Blonde

I remember leaving in the middle of something
my shoelaces were untied
& my throat was dry.   It may have been Saturday
morning.   I had memorized the way the dog barked
at 2 a.m. on a moonless night.   The sky dark the
pavement still warm.

                                                If I had a gun I
couldn’t wait to use it.
                                                                Blank pages in the
              Jim Nod Variorum,
                                                a picture of the Tupelo surf
hanging from the rear view,
                                                                      empty beer cans
                              rolling around under the seat.

The last day of summer lasted 3 months.

The light squared up between tides.

I was alone in the line-up.   It was always “locals only”
which meant god wasn’t invited.

There was a cloud parked on the horizon.
I thought it looked like an albatross drumstick
marinated in phosphorescent kool-aid.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Glass Beach

A variegated bloodred silver
bending late & early autumnal tides
sparing me a memory of the future as it never was


                                          (some blank Sunday
              tilting like a benediction


i   n   c   i   d   e   n   t   a   l         m   u   s   i   c
                                          (for accordion & diesel guitar )

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The beatific druggist of 1804

another bottle washes up in the cemetery
a bottle etched in the sand of someone
they stand like that in the dark
in the glossy village
I ordered the napalm, por favor
the young assassin spends Friday at the beach
ladies night in the palace of thunder
out on the porch the fly-strip is waving like a flag
sometimes it's one song bleeding
lifting a finger to her lips a sound gathers
at the intersection of 23rd St. & Hiroshima
delivering roses to the sky
all over the map of Tuesday in a black Batman t-shirt & shades
that's my aura

Friday, September 17, 2010

Needles on the Beach

1/ Once Steve McQueen gets hold of the 12-gauge pump shotgun in The Getaway all prior theories of prosody turn into a thin brown fluid of some sort.

2/ Dr. Strangelove, on the other hand, should be seen on a double bill with The Manchurian Candidate & the collected poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

It might lead to some mirth.

3/ The last time I had mirth it came with an ankle rash.

3a/ Insert here a vision of St. Jude carrying a water pistol & a framed photograph of Pearl Buck.

"I don't know man, my heart got lost in transit."

I read "lonely" ocean when the word was "lovely"
(must be something wrong with my eyes, but then, why not
"lonely ocean"?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sleeping on a Dime

...dark blue (& heavy)

went out of business some time during the Pleistocene

playing the Biographia Literaria Blues, part 2
on a seaweed guitar

we could hear it coming from the rusty side of the cypress grove
just me & her
& Blind Willie McTell
                                                                in the shallows
              not far from a secret break I call Tombstones

Dive into the sand & come up with a handful of rain

              there is no center / there are no edges

other nights & days & not much left over
pyramids in back of the ocean
                                                porcelain, concrete, linoleum
                              no longer there

knowing what time it is by the way she turns her head
in the light just so

& the shadow in the rear view mirror is Hollywood
I suppose

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Field Guide to Unconsciousness

Be assured there is a ghostly presence
              whatever the hell else is going on
something imaginary & for keeps
rocking the glow-light
                                                & the exposĂ©
lazy (lysergic)
              darker than thou
You claim your ancestors are carved jade
                              (plastic) & oceanic
              but no rain any minute now
The streets all warped in the sun the
darker it gets
              a circle of water on the water
Ventilator Blues, The Upanishads,
                              Thug Life, aka “The Poems”
              you could hear the needle when it hit
& the bells & a seacolored urgency
spilled like blood on the sand
                                                agate, jade, quartz
                              aforesaid by Circe
I cut down the alley
              the eucalyptus leaves knew my name
                              carved in oceanic jade darker than the
plastic debris that lined the beach
                                                Anyway it was summertime
              beyond certain flowers
                                                                & damp
with the light misquoted by broken eyes
                              carved from the ocean haze

Friday, September 10, 2010

Air Pocket

Slip into something uncomfortable

a stunning halo effect

              steeped in heavy breathing

                              before it ever starts to glass off

w/obituary bona fides & a burnt spoon

as you haul your silhouette

              thru the quicksand nativity scene

                                                into the blue sparkle

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The use of sunglasses to induce invisibility

Dark blue turquoise & slanted
littered w/pages torn from a bootleg
catalog of sunsets
                              but all of it built w/pieces of colored glass,
smoke, peacock feathers & mandolin strings
HYPNOTIZED by a single
                                                rusted-out palm tree
                              rattling in the wind

& it was light or dark out there
w/the air transparent & buzzing the neon sand
as I would expect nothing more than the measured pulse
of the tide to pace my own uncertain heart all this time
although maybe just a half-step behind

& the beach is tilted in the fog
                              like a bikini in the refrigerator
              sweating out the last day of summer

Monday, September 6, 2010


The sand shifts beneath the wash of waves.   I test the water, thinking of all the shadows I had to step through to get here.   What about the hall of mirrors between my ears?   Just another attraction at the deserted amusement park that wears my shoes.   A slow sky bending back over the ferris wheel, the loop, the bumper cars, immaculate greenery, weeds, broken glass, gold teeth, Pompeii, Hermosa Beach, TeotihuacĂ n, a whalebone cello w/barbedwire strings, barefoot eucalyptus spiderwebs, warm beer at 3 in the morning, & all of it thereby assembled like an ancient alphabet.   The steam-driven calliope churning underwater.   Bells in the kelp grove.   Greek astronomy.   Lee Marvin.   A slab of concrete rotting on the beach.   I’ve got a hymnal full of the stuff.   All tricked out & rationalized like a full-metal bikini swamp shimmering in the dark.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

There’s a UFO up there

To me it looked like a
big-ass Cadillac convertible
customized in Martian chrome
alien & illegal I suppose
like complicated recipes for day-old bread
needle haikus
a homemade neon telescope
an intergalactic helicopter distilled from the
bluish silver-green haze
tied with a pink ribbon

the sky sort of drifted away
while the coast road just got heavy

something to do with the
Jetsons-go-surfing architecture
& the time of day

plus the cosmic convergence of 10,000 seagulls
maybe two or three more than that
wheeling in a great feathered vortex

the ocean flat from here to Okinawa

every greenish silver-blue molecule

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Spahn Ranch Dressing

At Terminal Island in the 1960’s
Alvin Karpis taught Charles Manson
how to play the steel guitar

Friday, September 3, 2010

On a Wing (Frozen Pipe)

It’s an onshore wind that sweeps the beach clean
as the sun goes down & I tip back the last Corona
in my sleep before the fog slides over the water
the way the Sirens always did in The Odyssey
& armed w/cigarettes & fear I pull to the
side of the road to let the ambulance pass
I wake up at 5am the fog is chewing up the
dark I can smell the ocean spilling in thru the open window
I visit Joanne & Donald who are living on a massive houseboat
                                                a triple-decker Donald calls it
              Joanne says they’re sailing it to Fiji soon
                              Everyone speaks Russian in Fiji, Joanne tells me
She is bestowing great wisdom upon me
              I know this is true becuase I can’t understand any of it
as I’m leaving she hands me two books
              The Tropic of Concrete
                              & A Streetcar Named Virgil
I wake up & go back to sleep
cleverly step to either side & the machine tumbles past
just like Lew Welch said it would
                                                shadows in grass skirts
strumming the pavement (when I woke up I realized
              that the law of the jungle
                              has the same zipcode as the Heartbreak Hotel

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Drop Ship From Hong Kong

Nautiloid Reef
The sun reaches down thru
twilight eucalyptus

I told her I thought it was worth about
a half a minute of silence

nailed to the shadow of a palm tree

The Flipside

Wet sand, beach concrete, neap tide
              & a kind of melted plastic Buddha-Land

Don’t Look Back
A late summer fade in velvet

Long Gone

She wore those suicide pearls
              & I was about halfway there